How To Title My Next Novel

Let’s start with the first real book ever written. It is ascribed to Homer who lived, according to Herodotus, in the 9th century BC, four hundred years before him. In those days, calendars were kept differently than today. If you ascribe to the politically correct and nondenominational version of history, then “Homer,” according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, is described as having “(flourished 9th or 8th century BCE? Iona? [now in Turkey]),” and was the “presumed author of the Iliad and the Odyssey.”

Boy, that’s a noncommittal mouthful. I never understood the aversion to using the life of Jesus Christ as the pivotal point for the modern calendar. So the Trojan war, as told by Homer, took place around 1200 to 1300 BC. That was around the same time as the life of Moses.

The Bible’s title, and not the content, comes from the Greek word, Biblio, the Book. We can assume this because if any individual had wanted to claim authorship, he would have his name on it, like Grimm’s fairytales, or anything written by Shakespeare. The difference between the two masterpieces is, one is a story of war and passion, and the other is a story of war and passion. But I digress.

We’re talking about book titles. In most cases, it is easy to guess how they got their names. Wuthering Heights, A Farewell to Arms, Huckleberry Finn, The Idiot, The Brothers Karamazov, Smiley’s People, Farenheight 451, Slaughterhouse-Five, The Plague, The White Nile, and yes even Oliver Twist.

Or like my own books, Fatal Snow and The Mask of Minos. The former takes place during a terrible Blizzard in which people die. The later is about finding the legendary mask worn by King Minos’ son, the half-man/half-bull Minotaur.

The third novel, Wish to Die, is taken from a John Milton quote about William Shakespeare and goes like this – “And so sepulchred in such pomp dost lie, That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.” This I took to mean that men are willing to give their lives for riches, or perhaps in Shakespeare’s case, fame? I chose it because it sounded really cool.

This brings me to my point. What do I call my latest Harry Thursday novel about rubies found in the San Francisco Peaks of Arizona where rubies do not grow. And, while the hero tries to solve this puzzle, people are being murdered. I gave it the working title Pigeon’s Blood, (look it up). I like it, but it doesn’t seem to capture the depth of the story, which is more than about finding things.

I think soon, I will post a chapter or so of it as a tease.

Perception Is Truth

A husband and wife are making breakfast. As the husband is buttering the toast, he says, “Did you ever notice that if you drop a piece of toast, it always lands butter side down?”

The wife says, “That’s ridiculous, I bet it just seems that way because it makes such a mess when it lands butter side down. I bet it lands butter side up just as often”.”

The husband says, “Oh yeah? Watch this.” He drops the toast and it lands butter side up.

The wife says, “See, I told you so.”

The husband says, “I bet I know what happened. I buttered the wrong side.”

Great Reviews Are Essential… for an Author’s Ego

Originally published October 24, 2019

Last year, when my third novel became available for sale, I had the foresight to reach out for some professional reviews on Wish To Die. I actually got some unsolicited, and solicited, none of which I actually paid for. By solicited I mean, I asked a few people for their reviews. Some were well worth reaching out, some weren’t. You can tell an honest review from a dishonest one. The honest ones reveal the mistakes, and their dislikes as well. They tell it like they see it, not how they think I want to see it.

Those honest ones really boost my morale, make me feel like I have something to offer readers. I love writing, I love the process, the editing, the publishing, and I really like the after-work; the selling, as it’s called. Going on signings, speaking engagements, and the like. But I do like writing, unlike Dorothy Parker, co-founder of the Algonquin Round Table, writer, poet, and screenwriter of such films as 1937’s A Star is Born who once said, “I hate writing, I love to have written.”

As reviews go, below is a link to a site that offers reviews from avid readers for anyone willing to pay the minimal expense to submit their book to be read and reviewed.

Official review: Wish to Die by Robert Walton

If you go there and scroll down you can see all the comments on this reviewer’s review of Wish To Die. If you go there and scroll down you can see all the comments on this reviewer’s review of Wish To Die.

I even asked one reviewer, whom I happened to see write reviews for books similar to mine, if she would do me the favor. She did so without question. I even offered to pay for the book for her, but she didn’t want to hear about it. That can be found below in the body of this text. It is quite lengthy so read it at your own risk, so to speak.

If you are a fan of archaeology, history, and mystery, I would recommend you give Robert Walton and his Harry Thursday series a try! In the tradition of some of my fave adventure authors like Clive Cussler, Ernest Dempsey and Nick Thacker, Robert Walton’s Wish to Die, is chock full of hidden treasure, history, beautiful settings and exciting adventure as the good guys race to get to the goal before the bad guys. An excellent way to escape for a few hours and enjoy a different time and place without leaving the comfort of your favorite reading chair. Especially, enjoyable given the rash of thunderstorms, tornadoes, and flooding we have been experiencing here in the Mid-West!

Wish to Die is the third book in Robert Walton’s Harry Thursday series. Yet, I had no trouble reading it as a stand-alone novel. While Mr. Walton, does refer to characters and adventures from previous novels, he provides enough detail to understand where the characters come from and how they fit into the scene. It might help the reader understand Harry’s personality better if the books were read in the order written. In Wish to Die, Harry Thursday, a real rogue adventurer and not so lucky in love, helps the daughter of a WWII Russian art expert, responsible for cataloging and shipping Russian art back to Nazi Germany in the waning years of the war. She is trying to locate the lost Nazi art before ex-Nazi Erich Koch, who is has been hiding in the States for years under an assumed name. The problem is that are many people after the same treasure.

Jules Verne took us around the world in 80 days, but I think Robert Walton can take us around the world in 80 pages! Harry and our female heroine, Elina, encounter many different characters from Greece to the United States and back again. On the way they pick up allies such as Harry’s ex-girlfriend Sara, working for BAR and Jack, Harry’s friend from MI-6. There are also some secret societies much like Illuminati, as well as double agents involved. I did have moments when I stopped and asked “Wait a minute! How did we get here?” or “What?! How did that happen?” I found myself at times re-reading chapters just to get a fix on the timeline. However, I am not convinced that my problem was all the fault of the author and poor transitions from one action scene to another. Once I re-read certain sections, I realized that I may be suffering from “old brain syndrome”, I am just not as good as I used to be with multi-tasking and cataloging facts as I used to be! I may be giving up my coveted championship title as “World’s Greatest Clue Player”! There was enough action in the book to keep me enthralled into the wee hours of the night. Yet I found if I was the least bit distracted or tired, I just had to put the book down or be forced to re-read whole chapters again. I would recommend you read the book for yourself and see what you make of the transitions.

I loved Harry Thursday and the many characters he encountered on his adventures. But for a super-intelligent world renown archaeologist, he was very easily duped when it came to time to sort the good guys from the bad guys and was very unlucky when it came to protecting his lovers from harm! He seems to be a magnet for trouble, especially trouble in the form of bullets, explosions, and crashes! I found myself wishing he would use some of that fact-finding archaeology sense to ferret out the liars around him. Somehow his vulnerability only seems to make Harry more lovable! Robert Walton has a way of making his characters come alive, and I found myself having conversations with Harry as though I was there. I believe strongly that a good book should have the capability of sweeping you away to another world, another life, another time. This book definitely did that!

I am a fan of books that have a “Happily Ever After” ending. Wish to Die, did not leave me with that warm, fuzzy, feeling. It did end on a probably more realistic hopeful note. It’s the kind of ending that makes you sure that “…the sun will come up…” and somehow goodness and love will eventually triumph.

I would recommend this book to other adventure mystery readers like myself. I am eager to read more about Harry Thursday and his friends in the future. Overall, I would say Robert Walton has earned himself a place on my bookshelf and I am looking forward to seeing what other projects he may have.